Internship Projects

Nature Guide / Game Ranger

Self Study Course

Included in your internship is a Nature Guide/Game Ranger course.  This course is done on a self-study basis, but you have the added benefit of an on-site instructor that will be tutoring you and taking you out into the field throughout your time with us.  You will have to complete a workbook, write an exam and do a practical assessment after 8+ weeks to obtain the final qualification. Upon the successful completion you will have a NQF2 Nature Guide Certificate from a CATHSSETA accredited training provider. 

 

The course includes: 

  • CATHSSETA qualification/certificate (the legal qualification)
  • The Nature Guide Handbook
  • Smithers Mammals of Southern Africa
  • Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa (Van Wyk)
  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa
  • Photographic Guide to Tracks and Tracking (Liebenberg)
  • Workbook
  • 1 x Practical assessment & 1 x written examination

The course excludes:

  • Reassessment N$920 – practical & N$460 – written
  • First Aid course
  • FGASA qualification (industry extra)

Vegetation & Habitat Managment

Wildlife MANAGEMENT / wildlife biology / forestry / conservation

Grass analysing, bush encroachment and weeds, as well as poisons plants all, need to be managed.

 

The carrying capacity of the 32427 acres needs to be done on a yearly basis to ensure that the correct number of species and species diversity is held.

  • Vegetation mapping
  • Assessment of vegetation types. 
  • What problems are there concerning vegetation
  • Invasive plants, what types do we have, and in which parts of the farm are they growing? 
  • How can we eradicate these? 
  • Carrying capacity, bush encroachment management. 
  • How to deal with soil erosion & applying techniques to combat soil erosion

Husbandry

Veterinary / Animal Science / wildlife Biology / wildlife MANAGEMENT / conservation / zoology

  • Day to day cleaning: Cleaning of water sources and feeding bowls, cleaning of tack, cleaning of camps.  Hygiene where food is prepared. 
  • Basic care & Fieldwork: Identification of animal, condition determination, health, wounds, any abnormalities, pregnancy, calving, record keeping, reacting to problems, etc.
  • Feeding: In the dry season, the wildlife will be fed.  This is a great time to get information on the individual animal.  Assist in preparation of the food for the different animals, feeding, and monitoring (as mentioned in basic care & Farm work).
  • Assist in training of animals: Getting individual animals into specific areas for capture if wounded or for other management purposes.  Getting feeding areas up and running:  development of fences and cable, possible electric wire, clear rocks, and possible bush clearing.  Ensure gates work correctly.
  • Camp management: Field assessment on the vegetation diversity and palatability so that the camps are stocked adequately.
  • Necessary maintenance: Check water troughs and pipelines for leaks and any problems as well as fences.
  • Administration: Record keeping & data base of all animals,
  • Clinic and Laboratory: Help to collect material that the clinic need for DNA samples, like scat photos as well as working together with the sick and injured animals.  The two sections will work closely together.
  • Camera traps: Downloading and viewing of photos, making notes, and placing them incorrect files.

Veterinary

Veterinary / animal science / WILDLIFE biology / wildlife MANAGEMENT / conservation / zoology

  • Game capture: Help with game capture 
  • Injured animals: Help treat and look after the sick and wounded animals
  • Clinic and Laboratory: Help in the clinic & lab with the work that is being processed at that time, like DNA samples
  • Administration: Help with day to day administration
  • Clinic: Cleaning of the clinic, equipment
  • Game Count:  Herbivores of all sizes are an integral part of African ecosystems.  It is creatural to understand local ungulate population dynamics and migrations to ensure enough water supply.  At the same time, ungulate populations need to be assessed against the available vegetation to avoid damage to the ecosystem, for example from overgrazing. The volunteers will participate in regular game counts on either horseback, in the hide at the waterhole or by car to assist these monitoring efforts.  Muller Stud is home to large herds of Oryx (gemsbok), Kudu, Eland, Sable, Water Buck, Springbuck and many more, but also contains fewer known species such as the Dik-Dik, Klipspringer etc.  Ostrich populations will also be counted.
  • Camera Traps: This resource is also vital to the reserve and helps with identification as well as continuous monitoring of wildlife populations we also rely on motion-triggered camera traps.  Because the cameras record data 24/7 and every day of the year, they often capture information that humans might have missed. The cameras are non-selective and therefore capture data on all wildlife that pass in front of them, be they carnivores, herbivores, birds, or others.  This helps the researchers assess which species are present, and where they are most active, especially for animals that are usually very cryptic or entirely nocturnal such as the Hyena’s, Cheetahs and even the Bush babies.  The cameras are non-invasive and sometimes record interesting behavioural data that we would otherwise have no access to.  Volunteers will help set cameras in the field (for example at water points, cheetah marking trees, caves etc.), maintain them (refresh batteries and memory cards) but also go through the abundance of images to assess and structure the data recorded.

Equine Studies & Veterinary

Equine Science or studies / riding instructor / horse training / farrier

  • Building:   Building of stables
  • Horse care: day to day grooming & feeding
  • Training:  training and exercising the horses, should have experience riding and be able to provide evidence of it, riding helmets compulsory
  • Farrier (must have qualification in this field):  ensuring horses hooves are well trimmed and looked after
  • Cleaning:  cleaning of stables, tack, and tack room
  • Patrols:  doing daytime patrols around the farm on horseback should have experience riding and be able to provide evidence of it, riding helmets compulsory

Research & Data-Basing

Veterinary / wildlife MANAGEMENT / ornithology / wildlife biology / conservation / forestry / zoology

We like all students to be involved in building our database on various species & submitting data to Virtual Museum @ ADU (Animal Demography Unit, http://vmus.adu.org.za)

  • Please create an account with the ADU and get familiar with the website & also download the BirdLasser App (for birds) & get familiar with the APP.
  • We also do a monthly bird ringing/banding session in which students can participate collecting data for ongoing research purposes.
  • Birds http://sabap2.adu.org.za/ BirdLasser App(free)
  • Mammals
  • Dung Beetles
  • Trees
  • Vegetation & Grass
  • Snakes & other Reptiles
  • Frogs
  • Insects
  • Mushrooms

Horn Growth & The Effects of Dehorning of White Rhino

Veterinary / Wildlife Managment / Wildlife Biology / Conservation / Zoology

  • Measurements of each rhino horn after we dehorned.  
  • It would be interesting to put all this data together and see what the growth is on average.  An average horn growth (25-66 mm per year).  
  • You can then see which individual grows a lot, and which not.  
  • Maybe see what the relation is between the length and the base (if the base is thicker, does it grow slower in length?) 
  • It might be interesting to see if there are changes between camps, in which camp do the rhino horns grow faster?  Can that be related to field/nutrition?
  • What influence/effect does dehorning have on the natural behaviour of rhino?
  • Is there any psychological effect on the rhino’s that has been dehorned?

Hyena & Cheetah Research

Veterinary / Wildlife Managment / Wildlife Biology / Conservation / Zoology

  • Hyena & Cheetah is a problem for the surrounding cattle farms, as cattle are an easy target many of the farmers are losing their livestock to these predators and are being poisoned. 
  • Will collaring and tracking help these animals?  A funding campaign will be needed for this, any ideas on how to go about raising funds?
  • What can be done for these predators to co-exist with the surrounding livestock farms?
  • Does the use of swing gates in fences prevent predators from moving in and out?

Tannin Poisoning

Veterinary / Wildlife Managment / Wildlife Biology / Wildlife Science / Conservation / Zoology

The production of tannins as a defence mechanism by plants has been researched and proven.  It is only during the past 20 – 30 years that the true economic impact on game has become evident as more and more game farms are fenced off.

  • The purpose of this review is to state facts from research and explain why animals die from tannin poisoning as well as to suggest certain measures which can reduce the effects of tannin toxicity on game farms.
  • Different types of tannins are produced and affect animals differently.
  • What can be done to prevent this?
  • Which animals are affected?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • When is it a problem?

 


Feces and Pregnancy

Veterinary / Wildlife Managment / Wildlife Biology / Wildlife Science / Zoology / Conservation

 

In 2008, there has been a research on a field test which can predict pregnancy in wildlife, by using feces.  Now we take blood (during immobilization of the animal) and send these samples to South-Africa.  This is both time-consuming and costly. We would like to try these field tests, and compare it to the blood results to find out whether this would be a better method for us to determine pregnancy in our wildlife.  During feeding we regularly see them defecating, so collecting feces should not be a problem.     


Worm Burden in Wildlife

Veterinary / Wildlife Managment / Wildlife Biology / Wildlife Science /  Conservation / Zoology

We would like to know how high the worm burden of our wildlife is.  This can be done by examining worm eggs in the faces under a microscope.

  • Does the worm/parasite burden differ per camp?  
  • According to the literature, what is an acceptable burden and when should you deworm?
  • What types of worms/parasites are present?
  • Does the species of worms/parasites differ from different seasons?
  • Do different species carry different parasites?
  • When is the parasite load worst?

Create Your Own Research Project...

 

 

  • Do you have an idea for a research project?
  • Submit your project with your application
  • We will evaluate your project idea and determine if it will be viable to do on the reserve
  • Come and do your research!

Besides the project which the student will do, he or she will also be involved in every aspect of the farm; husbandry (game and horses), maintenance, game management, administration, possibly assist in capture immobilization, field management etc.  

 

Some of the tasks will be:

  • Wildlife husbandry (monitoring, feeding, hygiene etc.)
  • Horse husbandry (monitoring, feeding, hygiene).  If wanted students can ride and monitor wildlife on horseback, proof of experience to be given.  The student should bring his/her own hard hat.  
  • Administration (daily updates on individual animals, identification of photos etc.) 
  • Fencing - monitoring and maintenance while out on the farm
  • Other work, such as checking of camera traps, lab work, wildlife monitoring, basic vet care (vaccinating, deworming)

Curious where you will be accommodated?